What to do if You See a Dog Left in a Hot Car

Back in the 80s and 90s, it was the norm to leave pets and kids in the car while errands were run; my mom did it all the time with my brothers and I.

The dangers of overheating in a parked car were not familiar like they are today, and the information of these dangers was not widespread (remember the days of no smartphones, internet or social media?). In 2016, after a plethora of horrific news stories, it’s a well known fact that leaving any living thing in a hot car, even for a moment, is like walking a tightrope over a bed of molten coals. For a dog, it can result in irreparable organ damage and death. For you, it can result in animal cruelty charges and immense heartbreak.

With the amount of news circulating the internet today, people are more informed; but, accidents happen. Summer is upon us folks, and that means parked cars turn into ovens made of metal, plastic and rubber; preheated to baking perfection. Don’t leave your furry friend in the car.

Even if it’s cool outside, your car can still heat up to fatal temperatures. According to The Humane Society, if it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, your car can heat up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour, and rolling down the car windows does little to affect the temperature.

If you see a dog inside a parked car on a hot day:

  • Jot down the car’s license plate number, make and model
  • Where is the car parked? If there are businesses nearby, alert the staff and ask them to make an announcement over loudspeaker to find the dog’s owner.
  • If the car is parked where there no businesses or bystanders are present, call the local police (non emergency number) or animal control.
  • Learn about the laws in your town regarding leaving animals in hot cars, and add the appropriate phone numbers to your contacts, such as animal rescue, in case of an emergency.
  • If there are no laws in effect, help spread the word to raise awareness and lobby for new laws in your town.

Meet the Author: Courtney Lambert

Courtney is a full time writer covering soccer, travel, and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon, or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog.

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